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Postgraduate Research

We offer 2 programmes within the department, a 3-year and 4-year programme. Our programmes are funded from many sources including the Research Councils (EPSRC, BBRSC, NERC and MRC), Charities, the European Community, US Government sources and industry in the UK, Europe and the USA.

PhD Chemistry (3-year)

PhD Chemistry

The 3-year Chemistry PhD programme is focused on a major piece of original research. You will study under the direct supervision of a member of staff, who is an expert in his or her area of specialisation. The department offers a broad range of research themes across physical, organic, inorganic and computational chemistry, specific departmental strengths are listed under research areas below.

Read more on the Chemistry PhD programme 

Wellcome Trust Interdisciplinary Programme in Structural, Computational and Chemical Biology (4-year)

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This unique programme offers opportunities to study at UCL, Birkbeck College and MRC-NIMR. Students are exposed to a wide range of training in protein structure, chemical biology and the computational tools necessary to address important problems in biomedicine.

Read more on the SCCB programme

Studentships

Current PhD vacancies are listed below:

Best PhD studentship (D/L:30/11/20)

The Department of Chemistry at UCL has an allocation of funding for several PhD studentships which will start at the end of September 2021. We are seeking applications from extremely talented and highly motivated prospective students. The studentships will be awarded to students with a degree in Chemistry (or equivalent) or final year students in Chemistry or a related field. Selection of the recipients of these studentships will be based on the standard of the candidates academic record and a short interview.  The interview will cover both the student’s chemical knowledge and their motivation for research.

UCL Chemistry is one of the top chemistry departments in the UK, with over 50 members of academic staff carrying out world-leading research. More information about the department, staff and research areas can be found here https://www.ucl.ac.uk/chemistry/.

A list of potential PhD projects will be made available to applicants in due course.
To apply, please submit a 2 page CV and a short statement (200 words maximum) of your reasons for pursuing a PhD to doctoral.chem@ucl.ac.uk by 5pm GMT Monday 30th November. Interviews for short-listed applicants will be held online on Wednesday 9th December.

Applications are welcome from UK, EU and overseas applicants, but the studentship only covers home tuition fees. Please note that we are currently seeking clarity from the Department for Education on how EU students with pre-settled and settled status will be considered in terms of fee status.

The PhD studentship stipend will be the standard UKRI rate (https://www.ukri.org/our-work/developing-people-and-skills/find-studentships-and-doctoral-training/get-a-studentship-to-fund-your-doctorate/) and also cover home tuition fees.

PhD studentship in precise nanomedicines guided by Super Resolution Imaging (D/L:01/01/21)

Applications are invited for a fully funded EPSRC DTP PhD Studentship to work under the supervision of Dr. Sabrina Simoncelli and Prof. Giuseppe Battaglia in the Department of Chemistry and London Centre for Nanotechnology at University College London.
The studentship will cover tuition fees at the Home rate, and an annual stipend of no less than £17,285 increasingly annually with inflation. The studentship is funded for 4 years on a full-time basis, or up to 8 years on a part-time basis. Part-time stipend figures are pro-rata.
The successful applicant is expected to start in September/October 2021.

Studentship Details
The candidate will participate in an exciting research programme alongside physical chemists, optics, and biologists experts to gain molecular insight into the different parameters that can be exploited to fine-tune selective T cell activation and apply it to the design of more effective nanomedicines. 
T-cells are essential for human immunity, playing a central role in pathogen elimination and tumour surveillance. When they recognise a toxic substance, via the receptors on their surface, a cascade of chemical reactions instructs the cells on how to behave. T cells rely on a number of factors to shape immune responses, including ligand-receptor affinity, on- and off-rates of the interaction and number and local density of receptors expressed on the cell surface. Outstanding questions remain on how these mechanisms work, and on how researchers can harness this knowledge to engineer effective nanomaterials that can re-direct T cells towards disease causing cells. We will take advantage of recently developed quantitative super-resolution optical microscopy that enables 3D imaging with resolution in the range of 10 nanometres. This method will allow us to quantitatively characterise the molecular distribution of functional biomolecules, both, on the surface of T cells and on the surface of nanomaterials. We will use this information to further develop a theoretical framework that allows designing precise nanomedicines. 
The project will be carried out jointly between Dr. Sabrina Simoncelli’s and Prof. Giuseppe Battaglia’s labs and it involves cross-disciplinary work including advanced optical microscopy (using start-of-the-art 3D super-resolution imaging techniques) and chemical (synthesis of nanomaterials), biophysical (protein-ligand interactions), and computational approaches (including advanced image analysis using machine learning).  

Eligibility 

Suitable candidates for this post should have, or expect to have, a first or upper-second class Honours undergraduate degree and/or a post-graduate masters qualification in Chemistry, Physics or a related discipline (Biochemistry, Materials Science, Engineering, etc.). A background in optics/photonics and experience with programming (MATLAB, Python, etc.) would be advantageous. However, enthusiasm and willingness to learn, create and innovate is more essential than prior experience of the different techniques involved.
Applicants must meet the EPSRC eligibility conditions to be eligible for the award – in summary this typically means that applicants must have no restrictions on their right to live in the UK permanently and have been resident in the UK for three years immediately prior to the studentship commencing. There is limited flexibility to offer awards to those who don’t meet the EPSRC eligibly criteria, however note that the award covers Home tuition fees only. Please see EPSRC’s and UKRI websites for further details.

Apply
Interested candidates should submit a supporting statement, a full CV (including contact details for at least two academic referees) and a copy of transcripts to-date via the PhD Portal.
The supporting statement should clearly state the name of the project you are applying for at the top, and outline your interest in and suitability for, researching the suggested topic. On the application form, you do not need to complete the “Layman Summary” question, please just indicate the name of the project in this section instead. Referees will be contracted separately, so you do not need to supply references at the point of application. You will need to tick the box on the PhD Portal application form indicating this. 
Successful candidates will be invited to submit a formal application for admission to UCL.
The closing date for applications is January 1th 2021 and interviews will be held in January 12th 2021. The project will commence in October 2021. 
For informal enquiries or further information about the studentship please email s.simoncelli@ucl.ac.uk.

 

A 3-year PhD studentship in Theoretical Chemistry: Design and Simulation of Organic Radicals for Next-Generation Solar Cells and Light-Emitting Diodes (D/L:08/01/21)

Supervisor: Dr Tim Hele, t.hele@ucl.ac.uk 
Application deadline: Friday 8th January 2021
Interview date: Week commencing 1st February 2021
Start date: September 2021

The UCL Chemistry Department is offering a fully funded studentship to a highly motivated candidate to start in September 2021. The student will carry out his/her doctoral research at UCL.

Researching with Dr Tim Hele, the successful applicant will undertake theoretical and computational research into next-generation molecules for photovoltaics and organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs). Recent advances have shown that radicals (molecules with one or more unpaired electrons) can make highly efficient OLEDs but little is known about the limits (if any) of their scope and functionality.
Avenues of research include:
1.    Investigating the limits in frequency (colour) of absorption through molecular design, theory and computation
2.    Determining limits (if any) on the intensity of absorption
3.    Researching the mechanism of emission and how molecular design can increase its efficiency and reduce unwanted loss pathways such as internal conversion
4.    Simulating the electronically non-adiabatic dynamics of radical chromophores
5.    Design and simulation of radicals for efficient photovoltaics
Applicants should have 
1.    An interest in computational or theoretical chemistry, especially electronic structure theory, quantum mechanics and/or optoelectronics.
2.    Ability to write and run computer code or a willingness to learn
3.    Ability to undertake scientific research to a high standard and communicate the results of their research clearly

The applicants should have, or be expecting to achieve, a first or upper second class Honours degree or equivalent in chemistry, physics, or a related discipline. Applications are welcome from UK and EU applicants and overseas students with indefinite leave to remain or enter. The studentship only covers home tuition fees. Please note that we are currently seeking clarity from the Department for Education on how EU students with pre-settled and settled status will be considered in terms of fee status.

Interested candidates should initially contact Dr Hele via t.hele@ucl.ac.uk with a degree transcript and a motivation letter expressing interest in this project. Informal inquiries are encouraged. Suitable applicants should complete an electronic application form at http://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/apply. They will be invited for the interview no more than 4 weeks after the application deadline Any admissions queries should be directed to Dr Jadranka Butorac at j.butorac@ucl.ac.uk.

Applications will be accepted until 5pm on Friday 8th January 2021. 

A 3-year PhD studentship investigating controlling errors in the simulation of chaotic systems on digital computers (D/L:19/01/21)

Supervisor: Professor Peter Coveney 
Application deadline: 19 January 2021 
Interview date:  7 February 2021
Start date:  1st March 2021 

UCL Chemistry Department is offering a fully funded studentship for three years to a highly motivated candidate to start in March 2021. The project will involve a collaboration with CBK Sci Con (www.cbkscicon.com) and is co-funded by them. CBK is a sci-tech consultancy devoted to the provision of high end scientific, technical and management advice to businesses in computational science domains. This will enable the student to gain a thoroughly rounded view of the research landscape in computational science, including the vital importance of disseminating their research findings within academia, industry, governmental organisations, and the general public.

The student will investigate and mitigate a newly discovered pathology in the simulation of chaotic dynamical systems on digital computers. This pathology was discovered and quantified for the case of the very simple generalised Bernoulli map, by direct comparison of the exact results from continuum mathematics with those obtained from a floating point representation. These numerical errors make many numerical results wrong, while most users remain completely unaware of them.

The purpose of this PhD studentship is to assess the extent of these errors in other, more complicated, cases in order to restore credibility to predictions arising in diverse areas of computational science, from turbulence to molecular dynamics and reaction-diffusion systems. As such the student will be expected to work closely with two EU-funded projects currently running in the group; CompBioMed (www.compbiomed.eu/) is a Centre of Excellence in Computational Biomedicine and VECMA (www.vecma.eu) is a Future and Emerging Technology project for the Verification of Exascale Computing in Multiscale Applications.

The applicants should have, or be expecting to achieve, a first or upper second class Honours degree or equivalent and a strong background in one or more of applied mathematics, dynamical systems theory, numerical analysis, computer science and theoretical physics. Familiarity with one or more programming languages would be a distinct advantage (e.g. C/C++, Python, etc.).

Interested candidates should initially contact supervisor p.v.coveney@ucl.ac.uk with a degree transcript and a motivation letter expressing interest in this project. Informal inquiries are encouraged. Suitable applicants should complete an electronic application form at http://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/apply. They will be invited for the interview no more than 4 weeks after the application deadline Any admissions queries should be directed to Dr Jadranka Butorac at j.butorac@ucl.ac.uk

Applications will be accepted in the first instance until 19 January 2021.

 

A 3-year PhD studentship on Virtual Human Cardiovascular Modelling and Simulation investigating controlling errors in the simulation (D/L:19/01/21)

Supervisor: Professor Peter Coveney 
Application deadline: 19 January 2021 
Interview date: 7 February 2021
Start date: 1st March 2021 

UCL Chemistry Department is offering a fully funded studentship for three years to a highly motivated candidate to start in March 2021. The project will involve a collaboration with CBK Sci Con (www.cbkscicon.com) and is co-funded by them. CBK is a sci-tech consultancy devoted to the provision of high end scientific, technical and management advice to businesses in computational science domains. This will enable the student to gain a thoroughly rounded view of the research landscape in computational science, including the vital importance of disseminating their research findings within academia, industry, governmental organisations, and the general public.

 The student will work on scientific applications of HemeLB (https://www.compbiomed.eu/services/software-hub/compbiomed-software-hemelb/), a flexible open source lattice-Boltzmann code for the simulation of human vasculature, and the Alya Red code (https://www.compbiomed.eu/services/software-hub/compbiomed-software-alya/) for human heart modelling, at the scale of the entire human body. The coupled code, running on powerful supercomputers, will be used by the post-holder for research in physiology and medicine within the Centre of Excellence in Computational Biomedicine. In addition to the development and application of the code, including verification, validation and uncertainty quantification, the student will facilitate uptake of these software within the wider computational biomedicine community.

The prospective candidate will join a very active multidisciplinary group at UCL producing research in wide-ranging applications, from biomedicine to advanced materials and quantum computing, and leading a number of large European and national projects giving exceptional opportunities for expanding the candidate’s network and experience.

The applicants should have, or be expecting to achieve, a first or upper second class Honours degree or equivalent and must have a strong background in one or more of physics, computer science, computer engineering, applied mathematics or chemistry. Familiarity with one or more programming languages would be a distinct advantage (e.g. C/C++, Python, etc.).

Interested candidates should initially contact supervisor at p.v.coveney@ucl.ac.uk with a degree transcript and a motivation letter expressing interest in this project. Informal inquiries are encouraged. Suitable applicants should complete an electronic application form at https://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/apply. They will be invited for the interview no more than 4 weeks after the application deadline Any admissions queries should be directed to Dr Jadranka Butorac at j.butorac@ucl.ac.uk
  
Applications will be accepted until 19 January 2021.  

A 3-year PhD studentship in electrochemical potassium storage (D/L:31/01/21)

Supervisor: Dr Yang Xu
Application deadline: January 31st, 2021
Start date: September 27th, 2021

UCL Chemistry Department is offering a fully funded three-year studentship to a highly motivated candidate to start in September 2021. The student will carry out his/her doctoral research under the supervision of Dr Yang Xu and have the opportunity to collaborate with researchers at UCL and internationally.

Batteries beyond the material supply and performance limitation of Li-ion technology are essential for providing solutions of large-scale energy storage and accelerating the market penetration of electric vehicles. The project will develop exciting next generation of energy storage technologies that are built on K battery chemistry. We will look at enhancing the performance of K-ion batteries through discovering and designing new electrode materials and investigating structural defects, particularly at local atomic and nanometric scales. New synthetic protocols will be developed, and a suite of characterisation tools (ex-situ and in-situ) will be utilised to understand the structural defect-battery performance relationship. The obtained understanding will be applied to Na-ion battery electrode materials, which provides insights into the comparison between Na and K battery chemistries. This project will suit someone who has an enthusiasm and drive for research in battery and energy storage technologies. Some experience in wet chemistry synthesis and electrochemical characterisation would be useful but not essential as training and guidance in these techniques will be given.

The applicants should have, or be expecting to achieve, a first or upper second-class Honours degree in Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Materials Science, or a related subject. 

Interested candidates should initially contact supervisor Dr Yang Xu (y.xu.1@ucl.ac.uk, Google Scholar: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=0rjWUboAAAAJ&hl=en) with a detailed CV, a degree transcript and a motivation letter expressing interest and relevant skills in this project. Informal inquiries are encouraged. Suitable candidates should complete an electronic application form at http://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/apply. They will be invited for the interview no more than 2 weeks after the application deadline. Any admissions queries should be directed to Dr Jadranka Butorac (j.butorac@ucl.ac.uk).

Applications are welcome from UK nationals, EU students with settled/pre-settled status and students with indefinite leave to remain or enter.  Please note that we are currently seeking clarity from the Department for Education on how EU students with pre-settled and settled status will be considered in terms of fee status as the studentship only covers home fees. 

Applications will be accepted until January 31st, 2021.

Resources:

We offer an excellent education with high standards of teaching in an exciting but friendly environment. We foster a community feel to the department and you will mix throughout your time here with staff, undergraduate students and researchers.

UCL Scholarships: find the currently available Studentships with the Scholarships and funding tool.

Questions & Answers: There's a lot you should ask and a lot for us to tell you in our FAQ section.

Departmental Graduate Tutor
Professor Jim C. Anderson
Email: j.c.anderson@ucl.ac.uk

For all PGR enquiries contact:
Email: doctoral.chem@ucl.ac.uk